by well-known writer
Mohammad Khan Sial on Travel & Tourism
Home l About
Me l Airline
Site l Airport
Site l Album l Celebrities l
Foreign Language l Interesting
My Life My Struggle l
Quiz l Sindh
Tourism l Sindhi
Tourist Site l
WebLink l Postings
Urdu Columns l
Online': Mohammad Khan
Sial: One-man institution
HONG KONG (HKG):
Kong became a British Crown Colony in 1842, after centuries of
being in and out of history
a fishing village
lair. Today it consists of Hong Kong Island (29.2 square miles),
adjacent tip of the Kowloon
Peninsula which extends down
from mainland China, and some 235
other smaller islands in the
vicinity – altogether measuring 404 square miles. Hong Kong till
recently was British Colony.
Later, it was handed over to China
the expiry of lease period. The profile of
Hong Kong is dominated by Victoria Harbor (over 10,000 ships anchor
each year), which lies
in the channel between the island of Hong
Kong and Kowloon Peninsula; Victoria Peak
Hong Kong Island;
the clusters of high-rise buildings on the Kowloon side,
particularly those perched at the
the Kowloon Hills
behind the city. The Panorama of Hong Kong, specially at night,
is one of
and romantic in the world. Its
exotic, cosmopolitan personality is equally impressive,
person who can spend even a few hours there without
falling in love
teeming, glittering city. One of the
world’s greatest crossroads for travelers and trade,
is home for some 7.5 million industrious people –
and is still
at a rapid pace.
March-May, 70F / 21C; humidity 84 %.
May-September, 91F / 33C, humanity 90%.
September- December, 73F / 23C; humanity 73%.
December-February, 59F / 15C; humanity 75%.
Casual but fashionable during the day-light cotton clothing
recommended for all
when suits and
overcoats are needed. Fashions formal at status restaurants and
Kong’s single subway line runs from Central District on Hong
Kong islands, beneath
and through the major tourist
district of Kowloon, Tsimshatsui, then out to Kwun, Tong
and Tsuen Wan.
BUSES: Fixed fare
according to route. Express buses and mini buses are playing.
is popular ride in Hong Kong.
TRAINS & TAXIES: are
INDONESIA / JAKARTA & BALI:
In other days Indonesia was famous as the
fabulous Spice Islands, but before that country had
a proud history under the great Sultanates of Jogjakarta
and Bandung. Since declaration of Independence from the
Dutch in 1945, Indonesia has experienced many phases of
history but today
is moving into more tranquil waters. Jakarta, the
capital situated on Java Island , was formerly
called Batavia, a big trading port for the Dutch spice
trade in the 17th century . Today , a sprawling
metropolis where Mercedes Benzes drive side by side with
Willy’s Jeeps and Japanese Datsuns.
Your first impression of Java from the air is that of
rich colour – the sparking blue of the sea, the
lush green vegetation and the bright red-tilted roof of
Lying just east of Java across the narrow Bali Straits,
the island of Bali has often been described as
the closet on can get to heaven on earth. Small – only
2,095 square miles – with a population of
slightly under 2.5 million, Bali combines most of the
best that has to offer.
Balinese culture centers around the region of the island
- a merging of ancient Balinese beliefs and practices
with Hinduism – and the everyday life of the people is
expressed in an endless chain of colourful celebrations,
rites, festivals, sacrifices and other elaborate
The major city in Bali Denpasar, which is centered at
the beginning of a pouch like peninsula that extends
more or less southward from the main body of the island:
The beaches of Sanur and Kutta offer first class hotels
and typical Balinese chalets right on the beach front.
Bali, Java, and North and West Sumatra are developed for
tourism, but, with all that Sulawesi,
most of Borneo and the other 3,000 smaller islands have
to offer, they already attract several thousand visitors
a year. Become one of the world’s great travel areas.
LOWLANDS: Average temperature 79F/26C.
HIGHLANDS: Average temperature 72F/22C.
DRY SEASON: April-October, 90F/33C.
RAINY SEASON: November-March, 70F/21C.
CLOTHING: Casual. Most nightclubs and restaurants do not
require ties. Long sleeve batik shirts
are recommended for more formal occasions.
AIR: Most cities of Indonesia are connected with Jakarta
TRAINS: There is extensive network of Trains throughout
BUSES & FERRIES: Regular bus, Taxi & ferry services are
Both the Imperial and administrative capital of Japan
since 1868 and now one of the world
largest cities, Tokyo made it debut in history as a tiny
farming-fishing village, first attracting
attention at the end of the 12th century when the famous
Taira clan was appointed official in
charge of the surrounding province. The village,
situated at the head of a long bay on the edge of
a wide plain, was called Edo, which means “Estuary”.
Edo’s first real claim to fame dates from 1457 when the
famous warrior/poet Dokan Ota established a fort there,
and mentioned the white plain
of Musashi and view of Mt. Fuji from his “Edo Castle” in
his best known haiku poems. In 1590,
Ieyasu Tokugawa, the man who founded Japan’s last great
feudal dynasty, received the eight
provinces of Kanto in fief and chose Edo as the site for
When leyasu became a shogun ( military leader ) of Japan
in 1603, he brought his own 80,000 retainers and their
families to Edo and also required the 300 clan leaders
in the country to establish residence there for their
families (as a means of exercising control over the
clans ). Within decades, Edo was one of the largest of
the world’s cities: and its populations has continued to
swell since. When the Tokugawa dynasty was over thrown
in 1868, Edo was made the Imperial as well as the
political capital of Japan, and the name was changed to
Tokyo ( Eastern Capital ). The Metropolis
of Tokyo consists of a mainland and several islands in
two archipelagoes: the Izu and the
Ogasawara. The city is divided into 23 Ku ( wards ) and
has within its jurisdiction an additional 26 cities, 6
towns, and 9 villages. Tokyo is administered by a
governor and a Metropolitan Assembly of 126 members.
CLIMATE IN TOKYO:
Spring: March-May, average 59D/15C.
Summer: June-August, average 80F/30C.
Autumn: September-November average 62F/16C.
Winter: December-February average 39F/4C.Rainy season:
CLOTHING: Lightweight in summer; light coats & jackets
in autumn; heavy clothing in Winter and
light clothing in Spring.
TRANSPORTATION: Excellent arrangements of transport like
air, trains, taxies are available.
TOURIST INFO: For information about English about
interesting events in Tokyo , dial 503-2911.
For the same information in French, call 503-2926. For
general tourists information , call the Japan National
Tourists Organization ( JNTO ).SHOPPING: For luxury
items like cameras, pearls etc.,
shop at the place which are designed as NO TAX SHOPS for
Tourists. Must show your passport and sign a form
provided by the shop for that purpose.
Until the year A.D.1392, Seoul was a small town that
for centuries had quietly occupied a
picturesque, hill-dotted basin formed by low but
rugged mountains in central Korea. In that year, Taejo,
the first king of the famous Yi Dynasty, selected Seoul
as the site of the new capital. He
turned the rural town into a walled city and built a
number of a palaces and fortress.
In the decades and centuries that followed, many more
extraordinary temples, gardens, pavilions
and palaces were built in the walled city by later
kings. Today, Seoul is a combination of old and
new. Many of the palaces, temples and gardens of earlier
centuries remain, as do sections of the great wall that
once enclosed the then much smaller city. The visitor
can imaging what the capital was once like by viewing
the Great South Gate (Tongdae-mun) which is now in the
downtown. Along with these fascinating vestiges of
another age are modern office buildings, hotels, shops,
restaurants, nightclubs, tea houses and numerous other
facilities. The population of present-day Seoul exceeds
15 million and is growing.
Hottest months: July-August, 77F/25C; humidity 81%.
Coldest months: December-January,-23F/-5C; humidity 66%.
Rainy season: late June-July.
CLOTHING: That appropriate for Boston or London –type
weather during the four seasons is
suitable for Seoul. Dress is fairly formal at clubs and
TRANSPORTATION: Good arrangements for taxis, buses,
subways, railways and airlines.
DINING: A familiar restaurant sign in capitals around
Asia is the one boasting “Korean Barbecue”.
In Korea, its true name, Pulgogi.
Kuala Lumpur (KL) is young as Asian capitals go, having been
established as a trading post by two Chinese businessmen in
1857, when rich tin deposits were discovered in the vicinity .
As the mining
activities in the area grew, so did KL. By the early 1900s, the
once primitive outpost had developed into a large city.
Today KL is one of the most impressive of the great cities of
the Far East. Modern buildings of
glass, steel and futuristic design stand along side stately
mosques and Moorish-styled structures
that look as if they came right out of the Arabian Nights – all
in the lush , tropical setting.
Kuala Lumpur ( KL ) is especially noted for the warmth and
friendliness of its people, the
extraordinary beauty of its women, the tasty and excellent food
and the lush green greenery.
Hottest months; February-May , 88-98F/31-36C.
Coolest Months; October-December, 80F/27C.
CLOTHING: Casual and designed for comfort, even on formal
occasion. Malaysia is tropical with
only slight temperature change throughout the year so clothes
should be lightweight and washable.
TRANSPORTATION: Taxi, train and air connections available. Train
international service to
Singapore and Bangkok is provided.
In the city now called Manila, the first trading
communities were already formed as early as fifth
centuries to the ages , the place became a
flourishing riverside trading center for merchants from
Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Malacca, China, India, Japan and
Arabia. By the middle of the 16th century, Mulims whose
lineage could be traced back to Borneo established a
city –state, Mayniland, under
the rule of Rajah Sulayman.
The Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived
in 1571 and after two battles conquered the city. The
Sapniards constructed a medieval fortified town , named
Intramuros, and made it the capital of their colonial
administration. Through the years, four foreign flags
flew over Intramuros – the Spanish , the British banner
from 1762 to 1764, the American flag upon Commodore
Dewey’s defeat of the Spanish fleet in 1898 and the
Japanese Rising Sun from 1941 to 1945.The Filipino flag
was finally hosted in 1946 when the Filipinos, with the
aid of the Americans, re-built the walled city.
Stretching along the east shore of Manila Bay on the
island of Luzon, Manila today is both modern
and traditional , reflecting the influences of diverse
cultures. Metropolitan Manila has been
expanded to include 13 suburban cities and towns with a
current estimated population of over 10 million. But
Manila remains the capital of the country as well as its
commercial , political and
cultural center. Broad avenues, flower-filled parks,
numerous churches and schools, imposing and modern
public and private buildings and happy, smiling and
attractive people are some of
the first images of Manila’s character.
Warmest months: April – October, 79F/26C.
Coolest months: November – March, 70F/21C.
Rainy season: Late June – early November.
CLOTHING: Casual , Light, washable clothing recommended.
TRANSPORTATION: Air, Air conditioned public Love Buses,
Inter islands ships, trains and
Jeepneys – converted US Army jeeps (very cheep).
DINING: With many related but distinct cultures and
centuries of history, the Philippines has a
diverse and fascinating cuisine all its own. And as an
eastern crossroad, Manila can boast many excellent
restaurants, which feature food from around the world.
Some popular Spanish dishes are; arroz a la paella, and
arroz a la Valenciana – consisting of rice, meat,
seafood or poultry with
olives, tomatoes, peas and chorizo.
The most obvious contribution from the Chinese is
noodles. Usually made from the rice or wheat, noodle
dishes help make up some of the more popular local
dishes pancit luglug made from shrimp, smoked and flaked
fish, powdered pork cracklings, sliced boiled pork, soy
bean cake, garlic,
Chinese celery, sliced green onions, hard – boiled egg,
citrus juice and long rice noodles. Lechon is also a
favourite, made of roast suckling pig which has been
stuffed with the tamarind leaves and served with a pork
liver sauce. And balut – duck eggs which have been
partially incubated and then boiled. – a delicious and
nutritious meal, through the idea may take some getting
sued to. Coconut sauce dishes, which tend to be sweet
and mild are good choice.
NIGHT-LIFE: Filipinos are famous for their love of music
, singing and dancing, and, as a result,
Manila is one of the entertainment capitals of Southeast
Asia – from dancing and revelry in night
clubs and supper clubs to cockfighting and jaialai,
there is always something going on.
The Republic of Singapore consists of a small island
(224 square miles) lying just of the southern
tip of the Malay Peninsula some 85 miles north of the
equator, and includes within its jurisdiction
54 other smaller islands.
The city of Singapore itself is situated on the southern
side of the major islands. The name
Singapore drives from Singapura ( The Lion City ); given
to the island by an ancient Malay prince
( who claimed to be a descendant of Alexander the Great)
after his ship was driven onto the island
by a storm and he spotted a lion while establishing a
settlement there. With the population of over
2.5 million , Singapore is now one of the major cities
of the world; a crossroads for travel, trade
and commerce and the second busiest seaport. Also one of
the cleanliest and healthiest cities in
the world. Singapore has an exotic and cosmopolitan
atmosphere but at the same time imparts an impression of
the relaxed, casual friendliness typical of tropical
CLIMATE: Day time temperature: 87F/30C. Night
temperature: 74F/23C. Heaviest rainfall;
November – January. CLOTHING: Casual, summer clothing.
Suits and evening dresses not out of
place at nightspots, however.
TRANSPORTATION: Air, taxis, buses and Trishaws.
DINING: The main constituents of Singapore cuisine are
Chinese, Malay and the Indian.
TAIWAN (R. O. C):
Taipei (which means “North Terrace ) is a located in a
basin formed by three rivers – the Tamsui
on the west, the Keelung on the north and the Hsin Tein
on the south – and sprawls over an area
of some 45 square miles.
Located about 20 miles inland from the northen tip of
the 244-mile long island, Taipei dates back to the 17th
century, when a walled settlement was built there by the
Manchus of China to protect the island from the pirates
and foreign brigands. The city, with a population of
over 2.5 million , has
many broad thoroughfares and impressive buildings – both
modern and traditional in motif – but despite its
modernity, it still maintains many of the
characteristics of a small town. The main north
– south thoroughfare in Taipei is Chung Shan Road. The
main east – west thoroughfare is Nanking Road. Chung –
hua Road, which parallels Chung Shan South Road. However
North Road has countless more modern and air-conditioned
CLIMATE: Coldest months: December – March, 60F/16 C.
Hottest months: June – September, 82F/28C.
Typhoon season: July – October.
CLOTHING: Light woolens and topcoats as well as rain
gear during the winter months. Casual, light clothing
during the summer. Coats and ties, fashionable wear worn
in first – class restaurants and clubs.
ENTERTAINMENT: Many hotels and super clubs offer dinner,
dancing and shows.
The capital city of Bangkok was founded in 1782 when
King Rama I, ancestor of the present king , moved his
capital there from Dhonburi, on the opposite bank of the
Chao Phya River. The Thai name for the capital city is
Krung Thep, which means “Metropolis of the Angels – or
Deities”. Foreigners bestowed the name “Bangkok” upon
the city in the early 1800s.
Today, like the great Asian cities, Bangkok is the
mixture of the old and the new - modern hotels
and the office buildings adjoin classical temples that
have a style of architecture and function which have not
changed for centuries. Bangkok sits on a nearly flat
plain traversed by the broad, meandering Chao Phya
River, and is interlaced by dozens of canals. It covers
an area of over 40 square miles and has a population of
approximately 9 million. In addition to being a capital,
Bangkok is the industrial , cultural and educational
heart of Thailand.
CLIMATE: Hottest months: March – April, 96F/36C. High
Humidity. Coolest months: November – February, 62F/17C.
Rainy season: June – October.
CLOTHING: Cotton dresses and lightweight suits.
TRANSPORTATION: Air, taxis and Samlors-large motorized
tricycles, cost less than taxis.
SIGHTSEEING: In and near Bangkok, see the floating
market ( the ‘rural’ one at Damnoen Saduk is more
authentic); many glittering temples, wats; Grand Palace;
“Snake Farm” Jim Thompson’s Thai House: Suan Pakkard
Palace; National Museum; Dusit Zoo, ‘Ancient City’;Rose
Garden, ‘Village Show”; Thai Boxing, Thai dinner and
classical dance show. Upcountry, visit Pattaya Beach
( 2.5 hours from Bangkok) or Phuket Island. In the far
south, visit ruined cities of Ayudhya and Sukothai,
RiverKwai jungles and ‘Death Railway’, Khmer ruins at
Pimai and Chiang Mai in the north.
DINING: Thai food is a combination of traditional
Indian, Malay and Chinese influences and tends
tobe spicy hot. Popular Thai dishes : tom yam, a soup
made with prawns, chickens, or fish cooked
with chili and ‘lemon grass’, over a charcoal brazier;
gag pet, a hot curry made with beef, pork, chicken, fish
or prawns; and poo-cha, a deep- fried mixture of crab
meat, vegetable, herbs and spices. With its large
Chinese population and the growing number of both
Check with your hotel or guide book for the best
restaurant nearest you.
In 1513, the Portuguese explorer, Jorge Alvares, went ashore
in the Bay of Hoi Kiang. In 1557, the oldest European settlement
of the East was founded. The Portuguese took the name of the
local fishermen’s deity and called it A-Ma-Gua or , as it is
Macau is located 40 miles southwest of Hong Kong. The trip
across the South China Sea takes 75 minutes by hydrofoil ( 30
trips daily ) or by conventional ferry that does the one-way
trip in three hours. Fares are slightly cheaper on the ferries,
some of which offer first class cabins. Check with
the sailing companies for local schedules and fares, and buy
your tickets in advance for weekend
and return trips. Jetfoils and jetcats make the journey in 50
minutes at higher fares.
The computer ticket service in both Hong Kong and Macau allows
for advance instant reservations
up to one week in Hong Kong and ten days from Macau. Macau’s
most famous landmark is the
ruined façade of St. Paul’s basilica, which stands on a hill
overlooking the city. The church was designed by an Italian
Jesuit and built by Japanese Christians in 1602. It was
fire and typhoon in 1835 and never rebuilt. A variety of other
places such as Monte Fort and the
very pleasant Camoes Grotto and Museum, can be visited in a
half-day taxi or pedicab grand tour. Macau ‘s fame these days
centers around its 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, non-stop
There are four casinos where the action just never stops in the
Monte Carlo of the East. There is
also greyhound racing, ‘jai alai’ and trotting.
CLIMATE: Spring: March – May, 70F/21C; humidity 84%.
Summer: May – September, 91 F/33C; humidity 90%.
Autumn: September – December, 73F/23C; humidity 73%.
Winter: December – February, 59F/14C; humidity 75%.
Typhoon season: July – September.
CLOTHING: Casual but fashionable. Light cotton clothing
recommended for all seasons except
winter when suits and coats are needed.
TRANSPORTATION: Air, buses and Taxis are available. Pedicabs;
with seating for two persons
costs very cheap.
DINING: Macau’s cuisine is excellent, sufficient reasons for
visit alone. The Portuguese wines in
Macau are the cheaper in Asia.
NOTE: TO BE ADDED - ed